Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C

400 Poydras Street, Suite 1680
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
United States (US)
Phone: (504) 680-4304
Fax: (504) 527-5456

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What is probable cause? Can a police officer pull me over on suspicion of DWI if I haven’t committed any other traffic violations?

Probable cause is generally considered the minimum permissible basis on which an arrest can be made. The problem is, in a DWI situation, much less is required to get a stop.

In order to stop a vehicle, an officer need only have reasonable suspicion that a DWI or other crime has been committed, and many times we’ll see people get into DWI situations because an officer noticed that they had a broken taillight, that they did not signal when taking a left turn, that they swerved, that they were driving too slow, or perhaps driving too fast.

Any of these, and many more instances, can serve as a basis upon which a vehicle can be pulled over for a minor traffic violation and end up under suspicion of DWI, because any of those pretexts that I just mentioned could also be an indication that the driver is under the influence of alcohol.